Contact: Ernie Birchmeier, 800-292-2680, ext. 2024
LANSING — The fifth annual Michigan Livestock Expo (MLE) is on track to again break its own record and exceed its organizers' highest expectations. As the state's premier livestock show and auction, the Expo attracts the best young livestock enthusiasts from across the state—and a slate of generous buyers committed to supporting them.
This year's event takes place July 11-16 at Michigan State University's livestock pavilion, 4301 Farm Lane in East Lansing. Exhibition activities take center stage July 11-14, evaluating participants' skills and talents in the show ring with cattle, hogs, sheep and goats. Exhibitors of award-winning animals then market their livestock and dairy products to the highest bidder at the July 16 "Sale-abration" auction.
"We expect nearly 1,000 animals and a couple thousand people from every corner of Michigan," said Ernie Birchmeier, MLE co-organizer and Michigan Farm Bureau's livestock and dairy specialist.
This year's pre-registrations represent a substantial increase in every category: 700 pigs, 175 beef animals, 280 sheep and 80 goats.
"We are really excited about these registrations this year—we're on pace to shatter our previous participation levels," Birchmeier said. "In some categories we've got nearly twice as many animals as last year.
"Big picture? Just more living proof that Michigan agriculture continues to grow and prosper, year in, year out. And that's exciting. Michigan agriculture has a bright future, and this event really gives us a chance to put a spotlight on our next generation of talented livestock producers."
Since its inception in 2009, the MLE has quickly become the premier youth livestock show and sale in Michigan. Held in conjunction with the annual Michigan Dairy Expo, the event is unique for including multiple species and being open to young people ages 8 to 21 from anywhere in the state.
At last year's Sale-abration auction, more than 60 single and collective buyers bid on 34 individual items, raising more than $171,000 for youth exhibitors. Traditionally the young participants apply their auction earnings to college expenses, or invest it back into subsequent livestock projects. Proceeds above a sales cap support the Michigan Youth Livestock Scholarship Fund, which provides educational awards to youth involved in livestock exhibition.
Sponsorship opportunities are still available; anyone interested in being a sponsor or buyer is encouraged to register with Birchmeier by calling 800-292-2680, ext. 2024. For more information, visit the MLE website, or 'like' its Facebook page.